May 15, 2009
Confusion is evident as industry members negotiate their way through Bill 64, Cosmetic Pesticide Ban Act.

The Act bans any use of chemical pesticides for cosmetic purposes on lawns, gardens, patios, driveways of residential and non-residential properties, parks and school yards. In addition, holders of a landscape class license are no longer allowed to apply chemicals to structures, in and around a dwelling. Exemptions have been made for golf courses, tree care, specified sports fields and public health and safety. Other exemptions include agriculture, forestry, research and scientific purposes, and uses of pesticides for structural exterminations (e.g., in and around homes to control insects) and uses of pesticides required by other legislation. See the online version of this article for a list of all the Health Canada registered products that the Ontario government has banned (Class 7 pesticides).

Landscape license holders are only allowed to apply products to lawns, patios, parks and school yards with active ingredients from the list of Class 11 Pesticides. These include biopesticides and reduced risk products such as corn gluten meal, Bt, horticultural vinegar, diatomaceous earth and soap. See link on for the full list.

Professional lawn care operators must post a green notice sign to advise the public. Please note that there is no longer an exemption from licensing and posting requirements for the use of products that only contain these single ingredients: soap, mineral oil or slicon dioxide (diatomaceous earth). Land uses of commercial products that contain these ingredients require a landscape exterminator’s license and a green sign posted to give public notice of legal pesticide use.

Red notification signs are still required if applying pesticides for any of the exempted uses.

Maintaining the health of trees

Another change to the Act is that a written opinion from a professional tree care specialist must be obtained by a landscape license holder before a commercial pesticide can be applied to a tree. The opinion must show that pesticide use is necessary to maintain the health of the tree as part of an IPM strategy.

Posting notification protocol has changed for arboriculture as well. The licensed exterminator using the pesticide must provide written notice to the occupants of all properties in the application area (all properties that abut the tree or trees). Written notice must be provided one to seven days in advance of the application.

The provincial ban supersedes local municipal pesticides bylaws to create one clear, transparent and understandable set of rules across the province.

Caption header: Green notice signs, class 11 pesticides/biopesticides